Type 2 diabetes: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

At first, the goal of treatment is to lower your high blood sugar levels. The long-term goal is to prevent complications. These are health problems that can result from having diabetes.

The most important way to treat and manage type 2 diabetes is to be active and eat healthy.

Everyone with diabetes should receive appropriate education and support about the best ways to manage their diabetes. Ask your provider about seeing a certified diabetes care and education specialist and a dietitian.


Learning diabetes management skills will help you live well with diabetes. These skills help prevent health problems and medical care needs. Skills include:

  • How to test and record your blood sugar
  • What to eat, when and how much to eat
  • How to stay active and manage your weight safely
  • How to take medicine, if needed
  • How to recognize and treat low and high blood sugar
  • How to handle sick days
  • Where to buy diabetes supplies and how to store them

It can take several months to learn these skills. Keep learning about diabetes, its complications, and how to manage and live well with the disease. Stay up to date with new research and treatments. Make sure you’re getting information from trusted sources, such as your diabetes provider and educator.


test your blood sugar yourself and write down the results that tell you how well you are controlling your diabetes. Talk to your provider and diabetes educator about how often to check.

To check your blood sugar, you use a device called a glucometer. Usually, you prick your finger with a small needle, called a lancet. This gives you a small drop of blood. You put the blood on the test strip and put the test strip in the meter. The meter gives you a reading that tells you your blood sugar level.

Your diabetes educator or provider will help schedule your test. Your provider will help you set a target range for your blood sugar. Keep these factors in mind:

  • Most people with type 2 diabetes only need to check their blood sugar once or twice a day.
  • If your blood sugar is under control, you may only need to check it a few times a week.
  • You can test yourself when you wake up, before meals, and before you go to bed.
  • You may need more frequent checkups when you’re sick or under stress.
  • You may need more frequent testing if you have symptoms of low blood sugar more often.

Keep a record of your blood sugar for yourself and your provider. Based on your numbers, you may need to change your meals, activities, or medications to keep your blood sugar at the right level. Always bring your blood glucose meter to medical appointments so data can be downloaded and discussed.

Your doctor may recommend that you use a continuous blood glucose monitor (CGM) to measure your blood sugar if:

  • Are you using insulin injections several times a day?
  • You’ve had a severe episode of hypoglycemia
  • Your blood sugar level changes a lot

The CGM has a sensor inserted just under the skin that measures the amount of sugar in your tissue fluid every 5 minutes.


Work closely with your healthcare providers to find out how much fat, protein, and carbohydrate you need in your diet. Your meal plan should fit your lifestyle and habits and should include foods that you enjoy.

Control your weight and have a balanced diet importance. Some people with type 2 diabetes may stop taking their medication after losing weight. This does not mean that their diabetes is cured. They still have diabetes.

Obese people whose diabetes is not well controlled with diet and medication can consider weight loss surgery (weight loss).


Regular activities is important to everyone. It’s even more important when you have diabetes. Exercise is good for your health because it:

  • Lower your blood sugar without medication
  • Burn extra calories and fat to help control your weight
  • Improve blood flow and blood pressure
  • Increase your energy level
  • Improve your ability to handle stress

Talk to your provider before starting any exercise program. People with type 2 diabetes may need to take special steps before, during, and after physical activity or exercise, including adjusting their insulin dose if needed.

Diabetes and exercise


If diet and exercise don’t help keep your blood sugar at or near normal, your doctor may prescribe medication. Because these drugs help lower your blood sugar in different ways, your doctor may ask you to take more than one medicine.

Some of the most common medications are listed below. They are taken orally or injected.

  • Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors
  • Biguanide
  • Bile acid sequestrants
  • DPP-4 . inhibitors
  • Injections (similar to GLP-1)
  • meglitinide
  • SGLT2 . inhibitors
  • Sulfonylurea
  • Thiazolidinediones

You may need insulin if you can’t control your blood sugar with some of these medications. Most commonly, insulin is injected under the skin using a syringe, insulin pen, or pump. Another form of insulin is the inhaled form. Oral insulin cannot be taken because stomach acid destroys insulin.


Your provider may prescribe medications or other treatments to reduce your chances of developing certain other conditions. Common complications of diabetesconsists of:


People with diabetes are more likely than people without diabetes foot problems. Diabetes damages the nerves. This can make your feet less likely to feel pressure, pain, heat, or cold. You may not notice a leg wound until the skin and tissue underneath is severely damaged or infected.

Diabetes can also damage blood vessels. Small sores or cracks in the skin can become deeper skin sores (ulcers). The affected limb may need to be amputated if these skin sores do not heal or become larger, deeper, or infected.

To prevent problems with your feet:

  • Quit smoking if you smoke.
  • Improve your blood sugar control.
  • Have your foot doctor examine your feet at least twice a year to see if you have nerve damage.
  • Ask your provider to examine your feet for problems such as calluses, bunions, or hammer toes. These need to be treated to prevent skin breaks and ulcers.
  • Check and take care of your feet every day. This is important when you already have nerve or blood vessel damage or leg problems.
  • Treat mild infections, such as tinea pedis, right away.
  • Use moisturizer on dry skin.
  • Make sure you wear the right shoes. Ask your supplier what type of shoe is right for you.

Foot care for diabetics


Living with diabetes can be stressful. You may feel overwhelmed by everything you need to do to control your diabetes. But taking care of your emotional health is just as important as your physical health.

Ways to reduce stress include:

  • Listen to relaxing music
  • Meditate to free your mind from your worries
  • Breathe deeply to help relieve physical stress
  • Do yoga, tai chi or progressive relaxation

It’s normal to feel sad or frustrated (depressed) or anxious at times. But if you have these feelings regularly and they are getting in the way of your diabetes control, talk to your health care team. They can find ways to help you feel better.

People with diabetes should make sure to keep up with their schedule vaccination schedule.


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